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Jailhouse Snitch Caught Trying to Frame Defendant With Episode of "El Capo"

A lying jailhouse snitch got caught at his game in a Miami murder trial this week.

The snitch, Andres Garcia Florez, is serving 30 years for cocaine distribution. He thought he'd shave some time off by testifying against Clifford Friend, who is being tried for the 1994 murder of Friend's wife. (Prosecutors deny they had promised him a reduction, he testified he was hoping for one.)

Florez told the jury the two had watched an episode of El Capo 3 together. In the episode (Episodio 7, you can watch here), a high-level Russian drug dealer figures out his girlfriend is working for a rival group trying to take him down. He lures her onto a boat, ties her up with rope, attaches an anchor to the rope and throws her overboard. Flores claimed while the episode was airing, Friend told him that's what he did with his wife (whose body has never been found.) [More....]

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"El Chino Antrax" Extradited to San Diego

"El Chino" Antrax, Jose Rodrigo Arechiga Gamboa, has arrived in San Diego from the Netherlands via Con Air. He will be arraigned today in federal court.

The young, flashy alleged "sicario" for Sinaloa (Zambada) and logistics coordinator (El Chapo Guzman) is charged with conspiracy to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine, more than 500 grams of meth and more than 100 kilograms of marijuana. He is not charged with any crimes of violence.

His case is related to the case of Serafin Zambada-Ortiz, youngest son of Ismael Zambada-Garcia and brother of Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, according to the court docket, but it may just be they were both intercepted on the same wiretap.[More...]

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EX-NOLA Mayor Ray Nagin Sentenced to 10 Years

Former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. He was convicted in February on 20 of 21 counts of bribery, money laundering, fraud and filing false tax returns.

The judge sentenced him below the 15 year guidelines. The Times Picayune says here's why:

  • Nagin didn't lead the conspiracy; he followed.
  • He didn't pad his pockets as outrageously as some.
  • Aaron Broussard and William Jefferson set favorable precedents.
  • He is unlikely to run for office again.
  • He helped his family more than he enriched himself.

That news articles refer to the sentence as "relatively short" is indicative of our out-of-whack sentencing policy. 10 years for a non-violent offense is overkill.

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Pistorius Expert Provides Media With Work Done for Defense

The Evidence Room of Cleveland, Ohio has a problem. It was retained by the defense in the Oscar Pistorius case to create a re-enactment of the shooting of Oscar's girlfriend Reeva.

The reenactment, with commentary by Scott Roder, President of the Evidence Room, as it's being run on a display monitor, aired last night on Australian TV. Since Roder appears in the interview, and takes the interviewer through it, it's not possible he wasn't aware Seven News had it. Roder also talks about what Oscar told him (something a defense lawyer would never do.)

In the exclusive interview, Roder says he is convinced Pistorius did not mean to kill his girlfriend on the morning of February 14, after weeks of interviewing and analysing the evidence. "Absolutely, they physical evidence is consistent and his story remains unchanged," Roder told Sunday Night reporter Ross Coulthart."If you look at the evidence Oscar's clearly not guilty.

[More...]

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Wedding Bells for Joran Van Der Sloot

Joran Van der Sloot, 26, will marry his 22 year old girlfriend at Piedras Gordas prison in Peru today. The couple are expecting their first child. Joran, who is serving a 28 year sentence for killing Peruvian Stephany Flores, met his bride while detained pending trial at Miguel Castro Castro prison in San Juan de Lurigancho, where she worked in a kiosk with her parents selling cigarettes and sundries. [More...]

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A Good Day for Oscar Pistorius at Trial as Final Defense Witness Testifies

So far, today's trial proceedings have gone very well for Oscar. His final witness, his physician and team doctor, is on the stand. The following is a recap from tweets of several live reporters in the courtroom:

Earlier today, the psych evaluation report of the state panel of experts was read into the record and accepted by both parties. Neither called witnesses to expound on it. The report found Oscar does not have narcissistic personality traits, and he has no history of abnormal aggression of violence. He has no personality traits typical of a rage killer, and he does feel genuinely vulnerable. Oscar has a history of feeling insecure and vulnerable, especially without prostheses

The report also confirmed Oscar and Reeva were in a loving relationship. There were no signs of abuse or coercion. [More...]

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Oscar Pistorius Trial Resumes: Mental Condition Fine

The prosecutor's ploy to have Oscar declared mentally ill didn't work. Doctors at the state hospital found he does not suffer from a mental disease or defect that prevents him from being able to tell right from wrong.

According to the Twitter feeds of reporters covering the trial, today's witnesses included a sound expert and the physician who amputated Oscar's legs. [More...]

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Broward County: Systemic Judicial Misconduct

Frances Robles has an eye-opening article in the New York Times about the number of judges charged with criminal conduct and ethical violations in Broward County.

How could one county have so many misbehaving judges? Some say it's systemic. Others are in denial. The facts speak for themselves.

Added: Robles says "Bad behavior by judges has become distressingly common across Florida in recent months." Here are just a few examples:

  • 3 judges charged with DUI in 6 months.
  • This month, a former judge in Broward was disbarred for exchanging 949 phone calls and 471 text messages with the prosecutor during a death penalty case.
  • Judge John C. Murphy in Brevard County is on leave after he was caught on video this month threatening a public defender, who later accused the judge of punching him in the head.
  • In the Keys, a judge who was replaced on the bench after dozing off told a local news reporter that Ambien made him hallucinate about “ ‘Fantasia’ and the dancing brooms.”
  • Another stepped down because a blogger exposed a sexually explicit profile the judge had posted on a gay dating site.

Broward County has the highest rate of exonerations of defendants in Florida. [More...]

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Sinaloa Cartel Co-Leader Dies of Heart Attack

Juan José Esparraoza Moreno,"El Azul", the veteran narco-trafficker and co-leader of the Sinaloa cartel along with Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman and Ismael Zambada-Garcia, has reportedly died of a heart attack while convalescing from an accident he had about two weeks ago in which his vertebrae was injured. He was 65.

"El Azul" spent 40 years in the drug business, first with the Guadalajara cartel, then the Juarez cartel (where at one point he was second to Amado Carrillo Fuentes,aka Senor de los Cielos) before teaming up with El Chapo Guzman and Ismael Zambada-Garcia as leaders of the Sinaloa Federation. [More...]

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Government Releases Tsarnaev's Scrawled Boat Note

The Government responded to several of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's motions today. In its response to his motion to suppress statements, it reprinted what Jahar has scrawled while hiding inside the boat:

I’m jealous of my brother who ha[s] [re]ceived the reward of jannutul Firdaus (inshallah) before me. I do not mourn because his soul is very much alive. God has a plan for each person. Mine was to hide in this boat and shed some light on our actions. I ask Allah to make me a shahied (iA) to allow me to return to him and be among all the righteous people in the highest levels of heaven. He who Allah guides no one can misguide. A[llah Ak]bar!

[More...]

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TX Teen Faces Potential Life Sentence for Hash Brownies

Texas teen Jacob Lovaro was caught with 1.5 pounds of baked hash brownies and cookies, plus a pound of marijuana and $1,645. in his apartment. He's facing a potential life sentence because the he used hash oil instead of pot. In Texas, the quantity of drugs used for sentencing purposes in cases involving hash oil includes the weight of the brownies, not just the hash oil.

The prosecutor in the case has issued this statement explaining why the penalty is so high. [More...]

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Oscar Pistorius Judge Orders Out-Patient Evaluation

The judge in Oscar Pistorius' case yesterday rejected forcing him to undergo a 30 day inpatient evaluation. Instead, saying it was not supposed to be punishment, she ordered an out-patient evaluation. The evaluation will take place at a hospital on the outskirts of Pretoria, and Oscar will be able to spend nights at his uncle's house, where he has been living since the shooting.

That's good news for Oscar and quick thinking by his lawyer, who suggested it as an alternative to the typical in-patient eval.. His family gave a statement afterwards, saying they were pleased by the decision.

The only people who seem disappointed are the journalists covering the trial, since it throws their schedules into disarray. [More....]

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Oscar Pistorius Trial : Prosecutorial Gamesmanship

Oscar Pistorius is back in court as his defense team continued to call witnesses.

The defense psychiatrist, Dr. Meryl Vorster, testified as to Oscar's vulnerability as a double amputee, and the prosecutor asked to have the trial delayed and Oscar sent for a 30 day mental evaluation.

This is gamesmanship. The witness clearly stated Oscar knew the difference between right and wrong. There's no indication or defense claim he was insane or suffering from diminished capacity such that he couldn't appreciate the nature of his actions at the time of the shooting.

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Oscar Pistorius: Neighbors Closest to His House Back His Version

Reading through the twitter feeds of 6 journalists I follow who tweet the court proceedings in real time (rather than the media articles published after which selectively summarize the testimony, mostly in favor of the prosecution), here's what happened at the latest court session:

The defense called two more neighbors who live closer to Oscar than the state's witnesses. They heard bangs followed by a man howling in a high pitched voice. None heard a woman crying or screaming. One is a female psychologist for the Department of Labor who lives right next door or right behind him. She replicated the howling. The state's cross-examination of these witnesses was so short the defense ran out of witnesses and the trial recessed early.

There are now four neighbors who support Oscar's version of events. These witnesses were on the prosecution's witness list but were not called by rhe state. Instead the state called witnesses who lived much further away whose testimony was remarkably different but fit their theory. If the job of the prosecutor is not to convict but to see that justice is done, the state's failure to call these witnesses speaks volumes. [More...]

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Oscar Pistorius Trial Resumes, Estate Manager Testifies

Oscar Pistorius is back in court after a two week recess. His first witness is the estate manager Johan Stander. Stander was the first person Oscar called after the shooting. He arrived at the scene almost immediately. Oscar told him immediately he mistook Reeva for an intruder.

Stander was on the state's witness list but was not called to testify. Oscar's co-counsel, Kenny Oldwage, is questioning Stander. [More...]

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